Classification of areas of specialization
Thread poster: Sarah McDowell

Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:15
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
Aug 20, 2013

Dear colleagues,

I wasn't sure which forum to post this in so I chose "getting established".

The question I have for is about how you classify your fields of expertise. Sometimes the fields overlap and blend.

For example, I translate a lot of marketing texts but they are about many different industries, such as IT, tourism, etc. So would you list that under IT or in marketing? As far as I understand, the category of "marketing" is an umbrella term that encompasses nearly all industries and fields of study. So things like a translation of a university website would be classified as "marketing" because the university is marketing itself to potential students and colleagues, so by translating such a text the translator is also marketing the university in another language. However, a translation about the internal procedures and policies of the university would be classified under "education".

So how do you go about detailing your fields of specialization into smaller subcategories?

Some fields are easy to write a more detailed list of, such as economics, which further divides itself into microeconomics, macroeconomics, environmental economics, international economics, etc. but how would you go about further breaking down the general area of marketing into subcategories?

The reason is because I want to be more specific in my list of specializations rather than just writing broad, general categories like "Marketing", "Tourism" etc.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:15
English to Polish
+ ...
That's a complicated one Aug 20, 2013

That's a complicated one, Sarah. I had some problems with the layout of my CV for that reason, and even more so with assessments of how many words I may have translated in a particular field. Do I allow overlap to be more accurate per each field or do I allocate words exclusively, in order to avoid the word counts adding up to more than I've actually ever done. I've found no solution so far, but for the time being I avoid such overlapping.

Otherwise, the first thing that comes to my mind is that specialising in IT marketing or education marketing or tourism marketing would be an asset in whatever choice of translator wherein it really mattered. Also, just writing about what you do gets your potential clients hooked, especially when you write with passion, or at least it demonstrates your expertise.

You might want to create a bank of sample translations ordered by tags. Then they'd pop up under the right category as selected by a visitor, or, if simply viewed in a linear sequence, they'd have multiple tags on them (e.g. 'education, marketing'), just like the keywords under your profile here on Proz.com.

Overall, you wanted to talk about something different, but I first and foremost sense that cool niche you may want to take advantage of, with good presentation.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:15
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Lukasz! Aug 21, 2013

Thanks for your nice reply Lukasz. Yes, as you guessed, the reason that I am asking this is because I am working on my professional translation marketing tools.

I appreciate your suggestion about sample translations. This is something that I am having difficulty with because I cannot use any paid translations as samples due to confidentiality reasons.

Anyways, thanks for your comment.

Best regards,

Sarah

[Edited at 2013-08-21 06:10 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:15
English to Polish
+ ...
Now now, we can do something about that :) Aug 22, 2013

Sarah McDowell wrote:

I appreciate your suggestion about sample translations. This is something that I am having difficulty with because I cannot use any paid translations as samples due to confidentiality reasons.


I know the pain, Sarah. But, you can still find some royalty-free sources that aren't actually boring. I know that crown copyright is more complicated than the usual automatic reception of government work into the public domain as in other countries, but perhaps you could find a way to translate statutes and court judgments without breaching it, not that anybody would actually care to think ill of that.

Then, there's quite a lot available at Wikipedia that's pretty well written and can be used freely with attribution, not that Wiki is the only place that publishes text with an open licence. There's also Project Gutenberg with slightly dated sources that possibly don't sound too archaic to a modern reader, being quite ambitious sources at that, sometimes. Also, I suppose a couple of rights holders should be sensible enough to grant you the requisite permissions in exchange for a courtesy link, especially if you're forced to ask because of a technicality, your own purpose of using that text not having anything to do with claiming authorship or directly benefitting from a publication. Like, why would a water or power company not permit you to use parts of its standard contract or whatever else it is, or why would a tech company not allow you to use a part of its user manual. Why would a blogger or even a news portal reject any potential publicity. And so on. You could probably ask your existing direct clients, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind if there were no confidential content there.

... And you can always translate anything to which you hold the copyright, which you don't need to attribute, so you don't need to say the source was written by you. Or you can ask a friend who works in some other profession (I asked a lawyer and a historian, for example, but I had my own legal writing, which I also used) or even a fellow translator who has a translation blog in your source language.

Perhaps you could get some help here from Proz.com. Proz.com actually holds the copyrights to any featured articles (those that show a photo, profile link and so on), so you could probably ask permission via the support system if you found something there that you'd like to translate. Alternatively, you could always write an article in each of your languages (that's technically two articles), showing off some 500-5000 words of your writing and your translation.

Good luck!

[Edited at 2013-08-22 19:24 GMT]


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Domenico Trimboli  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:15
Member (2013)
English to Italian
Marketing for X, Y and Z industries Aug 22, 2013

Sarah McDowell wrote:

Dear colleagues,

I wasn't sure which forum to post this in so I chose "getting established".

The question I have for is about how you classify your fields of expertise. Sometimes the fields overlap and blend.

For example, I translate a lot of marketing texts but they are about many different industries, such as IT, tourism, etc. So would you list that under IT or in marketing? As far as I understand, the category of "marketing" is an umbrella term that encompasses nearly all industries and fields of study. So things like a translation of a university website would be classified as "marketing" because the university is marketing itself to potential students and colleagues, so by translating such a text the translator is also marketing the university in another language. However, a translation about the internal procedures and policies of the university would be classified under "education".

So how do you go about detailing your fields of specialization into smaller subcategories?

Some fields are easy to write a more detailed list of, such as economics, which further divides itself into microeconomics, macroeconomics, environmental economics, international economics, etc. but how would you go about further breaking down the general area of marketing into subcategories?

The reason is because I want to be more specific in my list of specializations rather than just writing broad, general categories like "Marketing", "Tourism" etc.

I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter.


Actually a really interesting question, and one I asked myself several times.

I find that marketing ourselves as 'general' marketing experts is something we (as translators) should try to avoid. While we can certainly consider one's talent for translating copies in a way that sells as a USP, this talent is hardly relevant if we are not able to actually understand the product/service we are trying to market.

The main problem here comes when we approach translation agencies (I suppose we only contact direct clients which operate in fields that fall under our expertise) or write copies about our services (websites, LinkedIn, Proz itself). I adopted two different solutions.

When I contact translation agencies I first check which industries they cover. I am perfectly comfortable translating marketing material in the gaming, financial and tourism & travel industries. If the agency covers these areas, I send them my resume as a marketing translator in X, Y, Z industries. I have different 'mixes' for that, so that I always send info which is relevant to the recipient.

In my online profiles, although, I prefer to remain generic as 'marketing translator' and then decide according to the specifics of any proposals I receive. I know I'll say no to anything in such industries as automotive/engineer/medicine. I may think about IT in case the material is really basic. I'll say yes to any kind of marketing material for the gaming industry. I feel that if I defined my marketing areas of expertise in my profile I would have missed at least a couple of nice projects which I did at a very high level, even though they were not linked to fields I am used to deal with.


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Sarah McDowell  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 06:15
Member (2012)
Russian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks again Lukasz Aug 22, 2013

Thank you for these ideas. You have been very helpful.

See my commentary on your suggestions:

Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz wrote:

Then, there's quite a lot available at Wikipedia that's pretty well written and can be used freely with attribution, not that Wiki is the only place that publishes text with an open licence.


I have seen a lot of great content in my source language on Wikipedia. However, it seems that most of it is also already in English. I will do some digging for texts there that are not in English yet which are in my specialty fields. So as far as I understand, we don't have to ask Wikipedia for permission. How would you go about crediting them with the source text? Do you just provide the link to the Wikipedia article below the text?

There's also Project Gutenberg with slightly dated sources that possibly don't sound too archaic to a modern reader, being quite ambitious sources at that, sometimes.


Thanks, I will look up Project Gutenberg.

Like, why would a water or power company not permit you to use parts of its standard contract or whatever else it is, or why would a tech company not allow you to use a part of its user manual. Why would a blogger or even a news portal reject any potential publicity. And so on.


I don't translate contracts but even if I did, how would I go about getting that kind of text? Companies don't have copies of their standard contracts on their websites. I think I am going to look for bloggers. This may be the best choice.

You could probably ask your existing direct clients, and I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind if there were no confidential content there.


I have thought about doing this since a lot of the texts I have translated are available to the public on the Internet anyway. But I don't want everyone on the Internet knowing who my clients are. This would not be a very wise thing to do.

Thanks again for your ideas Lukasz!


[Edited at 2013-08-22 21:04 GMT]


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Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:15
English to Polish
+ ...
... Aug 23, 2013

Thank you for the good words, Sarah.

Regarding Wiki, it has its Creative Commons licence available online, and it looks like linking to the article should be enough. This is also what I did when I used a wiki source. Speaking of which, the articles are rarely translations, so it shouldn't be difficult to find a paragraph or two without counterpart in the other version.

One thing to note about that licence is that your translation needs to follow the same terms and conditions as the source, so it's basically equivalent to translating for the public domain.

As for contracts, sometimes they're available online, I'd guess especially for any sort of services available to the general public. Procurements tend to be publicised. A variety of Terms of Service exists on pretty much every major site. Entrepreneurs that sell goods or services to the general public online may be legally forced to have some such rules available online the same way as it is in the EU (what with consumer protection laws and all). But, I failed to realise you didn't really work in legal texts.

... So you might as well target someone with good Russian business or marketing texts but no English version. Not sure how many such websites exist, though, but here's a lead: self-help and otherwise educational websites targeted at a Russian audience, especially if they're specific to the local legal and business circumstances, shouldn't have much use of an English version, so they should probably neither have an existing translation nor really mind letting you use a paragraph or two. Then again, I'm pretty sure there should be enough business bloggers who wouldn't mind letting you use a paragraph or two in exchange for attribution and a link/URL. Oh, and there should still be such texts on Wiki unless its Russian editors are diligent and quick in translating everything into English. But even then, some of those texts should be low-priority in terms of translation, as they might be mostly useless to foreign readers (other than doing business in Russia or learning about it).

And yes, if your translations are already available online, it might be a good idea to use some of them. If you're afraid of losing a client, perhaps I'd ask the most trusted ones only, or ones that you already claim in referrals, CVs, 'ego walls' etc.

For the kicks, you could probably also translate some passages from a Russian novel with expired copyright, referring to business. Especially in companies (AGMs, proxies, boardrooms and so on) little should have changed since 19th century. Might be able to find something about cosmetics, too. There should be plenty of Russian journalism and travel literature that no longer has a copyright on it but may appeal to people's retro tastes. (If spelling or grammar has changed since, the lack of copyright protection means you can modernise it just for your source if you want to, in which case it probably shouldn't differ much from a modern but old-fashioned educated Russian journalists. But I don't know the language, so I'm guessing here, mostly on the basis of the fact that 19th century Polish with modernised spelling doesn't really raise brows in Poland.)

[Edited at 2013-08-23 11:05 GMT]


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